Official report shows Hong Kong’s worsening air quality its own fault
Further proof (if more were needed) that local sources are driving the decline in Hong Kong's air quality has just arrived in an official report. The 2011 Pearl River Delta Regional Air Quality Report, produced by Hong Kong's Environmental Protection Department (EPD) and the Department of Environmental Protection of Guangdong Province, shows continuous improvement of air quality in the Pearl River Delta (PRD) area.
After years of blaming the PRD for Hong Kong's air quality problems the EPD is now in an embarassing position because Hong Kong air doesn't show the same level of improvement as the region as a whole.
The new report shows that, last year, the annual average nitrogen dioxide concentration in the PRD was 13 percent below 2006 levels but in Hong Kong NO2 increased by 3 percent at general stations and 28 percent at roadside stations. In fact, last year, roadside NO2 levels reached record highs (123µg/m3).
In addition, the PRD region's recorded levels of SO2 and PM10 last year were 49 percent and 14 percent lower, respectively, compared to levels recorded in 2006. In comparison, the decrease for the same two pollutants were only 40 percent and 10 percent for Hong Kong.
"The continuing improvement of regional air quality highlights the fact that most of Hong Kong's air pollution comes from local sources," said Helen Choy, general manager of the Clean Air Network, a local NGO.
"Apart from collaborating with the Guangdong government to reduce regional air pollution, the Hong Kong Government should put more effort into improving local air quality, particularly with regards to speeding up the pace to phase out old and dirty buses and commercial diesel vehicles, which are the primary sources of roadside pollution in our city."